On an almost daily basis, someone in the American media will write a column hailing 2008 as being, perhaps, sport’s greatest year.
From Nadal’s muscular win at Wimbledon to Tiger’s gimpy victory at Torrey Pines, the American media believes it isin the midst of actually living sport’s “Good ol’ days.”
Which, of course, may very well be true. But for all the wonderful stories — the Giants Super Bowl win, the Red Wings dominant Stanley Crown, the Celtics old school win over the Lakers in the NBA final and the emergence of Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines as the greatest pound-for-pound boxer on the planet — 2008 has also left us with enough goofiness to fill a book.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a novel, ’cause you can’t make this crap up…
Canseco a Bashed Brother
Jose Canseco took steroids, fought with wives, wrote a couple of interesting books and hit a load of home runs, but he wasn’t ready for the fight he got in Atlantic City last weekend.
The 6-foot-4 former tater pounder from Miami who calls himself, “a martial arts specialist” was knocked into next week by 5-foot-9, former Philadelphia Eagles kick returner Vai Sikahema, in the first round, no less, of their celebrity boxing match at an Atlantic City casino.
This fight wasn’t fair. Sikahema, who doubles as a sportscaster, has had more than 80 fights as an amateur boxer while, based on his history Canseco has only had a couple of bar grawls.
Apparently, Juiced and Juiced II didn’t sell all that well. Jose apparently needed an extra payday. The shot to the head he took from Sikahema wasn’t likely as embarrassing as the fact Canseco found himself in this predicament in the first place.
Favre denied Release.
After watching Brett Favre’s interview with Fox’s Greta van Susteren on Monday night, it became apparent that saying, “Sport is a business,”is just a pleasant way of saying, “We really want to screw over a guy, but hey it’s just business, nothing personal.” I experienced that sentiment first-hand in the media business and if people just wanted to tell the truth they’d say, “We want to screw over the guy because we can.”
Sure, Favre screwed up his retirement deal, but let’s be honest with each other: Did we ever believe for a second that he was really going to retire? The last pass he threw in that playoff game against the Giants, the one that was intercepted, was never going to be the final pass he threw as an NFL quarterback. Never. Favre was coming back and one senses that the Packers expected he’d be coming back, too.
So favre decides he wants to come back — as everyone expected he would — and now the Packers say, we’ve decided to go another way and have maded Aaron Rodgers the No. 1 quarterback. Favre says, “Hey, no problem, give me my release and I’ll be on my way.” But then, the Packers come back with some nonsense about “preserving Brett’s legacy,” and say, “We they don’t plan to grant Brett the release he is seeking from his contract but we are committed to Aaron Rodgers as the starter.” Oh, oh.
GM Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy went on to tell AP: “We’ve communicated that to Brett, that we have since moved forward. At the same time, we’ve never said that there couldn’t be some role that he might play here. But I would understand his point that he would want to play.”
Yeah, right. If these guys truly believed Aaron Rodgers was any good, they’d release Favre and let Rodgers take the ball and, well, run with it, metaphorically. Instead, they aren’t sure about Rodgers and even less sure about Favre, so they’ll cover their behinds and make sure Favre doesn’t go anywhere. Especially to a place like Chicago or Minnesota where he could come back and bite them in the ass.
Don’t ever believe for one split second that the Packers care about Brett Favre’s legacy. The Packers care about the Packers and the team’s coach and GM care about themselves first and their veteran quarterback a distant second — as all football men do. In the greatest of team games, there is no one more selfish than a football executive.
If the boys in Green Bay really cared about Brett Favre, they’d either announce he’s their starter or they’d let him go. After all, he’s earned it. He’s played hurt. He played after his dad died. As one scribe suggested, “He’s always played for the moment, not the money. There are bits and pieces of his body all over Lambeau Field.”
After what Favre has accomplished in Green Bay, he should have the right to determine his own future. If the people who run the Packers decide that he’s no longer in their plans, they should act like human beings, not dicks, and just let him go. Or, at least, they should make a legitimate effort to trade him, an effort they don’t appear to be making.
Why All-Star Games are a Waste.
Personally, I love Major League Baseball’s all-star game.
In fact, one of the wonderful things about the great game of baseball is that its all-star games are exactly as advertised – real games, played at the highest level of skill.
Football and hockey all-star games just aren’t the same because no one wants to get hurt in a game that doesn’t matter in the standings so the inherent violence that sports fans love is all but removed from the equation. Basketball all-star games don’t work because, hey, who really wants to play defence?
But baseball? Baseball is different. The nature of the game alone is an invitation to get out onto the diamond and give it your best shot. Throw it, catch it, hit it. Ballplayers love to show the fans how well they play and when it’s all-star time, those stars shine.
“You wanna see an unhittable slider? Watch this!”
“You wanna see if I can hit it in the river? Well then, show me the cheese, meat!”
However, to make an all-star baseball game truly great, you have to have real all-stars in the game. This year, MLB has, as they say, dropped the ball.
No Diasuke Matsuzaka. The Red Sox ace, who has overcome injuries and even gone back to A-ball to rehab, is now 10-1 with a 2.65 earned run average. That’s an all-star, but he wasn’t selected to play in the game.
No Kyle Lohse. One of three aboriginal Americans in the Majors, Lohse is having a remarkable comeback season. He’s 11-2 with a 3.39 ERA and is one of the big reasons the Cards are in the hunt in the NL Central. He’s an all-star but he’s not in the game.
And there is no Ryan Howard. Oh, spare me. Howard leads the National League in home runs and RBI. He’s the biggest run producer in the NL, but he’s not in the game. First time since Hank Bauer in 1945, that the league’s No. 1 homer and RBI man is not in the all-star game. That’s just stupid. Idiot Clint Hurdle and his National League pretenders deserve to lose tonight’s game.
You can also go on about Placido Palanco, Mike Mussina, Xavier Nady, Magglio Ordonez and Jermaine Dye, but that’s just picking nits. The fact is, while baseball’s all-star game is the best of a mediocre lot, it loses what lustre it has left when some of the real all-stars are off playing golf.